Visitors flock to watch Hawaii volcano erupt

Red hot bubbling lava on Thursday was filling the Halema'uma'u crater of Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano – during its first eruption in nearly a year.

That’s according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which said the lava presented no immediate threat to populated areas.

Natalia Deligne is a geologist with the USGS:

“All of the activity is confined to Halema'uma'u. So we have fountaining, we have fissures, and we have lava lake activity. All of that is within Halema'uma'u. So it’s all confined for the present. Seismic activity, tilt, etc – that’s all showing it’s in the summit region, it hasn’t gone elsewhere.”

Even so, residents who live downwind of the volcano were warned of possible exposure to sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gases that can irritate the respiratory system.

Still, visitors - in awe of the lava’s glow and pluming smoke - were allowed to check it out from a safe distance.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which the eruption was taking place in, remained open.

Kilauea- Hawaii’s youngest and most active volcano - began its eruption Wednesday afternoon.

It last erupted in December 2020, when a water-filled lake that had formed at the crater evaporated, and was replaced by a lava lake.

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